Fifteen years. For fifteen years, the citizens of the United States have commemorated the lives lost on September 11, 2001. Last year, I wrote a post about where I was and what I was doing that day, so I won’t bore you with the details. Instead, I want to briefly share my opinion on where we are now.
The phrase “Never Forget” is quoted quite often, especially today. I’d like to take it one step further. When I think of the words “Never Forget,” I remember today as being the one day where everyone of all nationalities came together and mourned a country. But I believe we’ve forgotten those moments where people didn’t look at one another with prejudice and disdain. Dare I say, people are more divided now than ever before. Take the recent tragedy in Orlando and the numerous reports of police brutality. I speak of the United States, but there are similar tragedies throughout the world. Events like these have fractured us. And from what I’ve observed, it’s not going to get any better.
The company I work for, one of its core values is “Respect for the Individual.” That basically means I must treat each person equally. Now I don’t always practice this. I have my own prejudices to address. But I do believe in respect for the individual. And that is what it boils down to: respect. Now respect doesn’t equate to acceptance. We have free will. The choices we make are on our own. So not everyone is going to agree with those choices. But it’s what makes us individual. And at the end of the day, it’s what makes us human.
So yes, we won’t forget this infamous day. But in the same way, we mustn’t forget when the people of the United States stood united. When we see our neighbors and random strangers, we need to treat them the same way we would want to be treated, even if it’s not reciprocated. And maybe, just maybe, we, the citizens that populate the world, can make our respective countries great.